The UN High Commissioner for Refugee Agency has called it the “fastest growing crisis in Europe since World War II”: more than 1.5 million refugees, mostly women and children, have fled war-torn Ukraine. It is crucial they’re given a new home in which to integrate and rebuild their shattered lives. And while it’s a fundamentally natural human response to want to provide them with shelter, there are some steps that need to be taken first.
For those UK citizens who want to take part in the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the Ukraine Family Visa Scheme, or just want to donate, here’s everything we know.
I want to help, how do I?
There are two ways you can help through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. If you know someone in Ukraine that you want to bring to the UK then work with them to fill out the dedicated visa application. If you don’t know someone you can fill out an expression of interest. More information will be available on https://ukstandswithukraine.campaign.gov.uk/
How long do I have to provide accommodation?
We’re asking people to provide at least 6 months of stable accommodation, but you can extend this if you and your guest(s) want to do so.
What sort of space can I offer?
Accommodation can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it’s safe, heated, free from health hazards and gives your guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Am I going to be expected to cover my guest’s bills or provide meals?
No, you’ll just be asked to provide the accommodation. However, there is nothing stopping you offering meals if you want. An optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month will be provided to people who do host guests.
Will there be checks carried out to protect my family and my guests?
Yes, the local council will complete checks on the accommodation and living arrangements. Security checks will take place too, which will vary based on circumstances. More information is available on https://ukstandswithukraine.campaign.gov.uk/
For those sponsoring Ukrainian refugees
I’m interested, where do I register?
Complete the short form on the Homes for Ukraine webpage. You will be kept updated after recording your interest.
I already have a named contact to sponsor what should I do?
If you already have a named contact that you wish to sponsor you should get in touch with them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application with all of their details and yours.
I don’t yet know anyone from Ukraine to sponsor. What should I do?
If you don’t know anyone from Ukraine to sponsor you are still encouraged to take part in the Homes for Ukraine Scheme if you can. You may wish to get in touch with charities, faith groups or local community organisations who are starting to make connections between individuals.
I’m part of an organisation. What role can I play?
Record the organisation’s interest by visiting the Homes for Ukraine webpage. Named individual contacts are being prioritised.
For those arriving to the UK
Am I eligible for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme?
You are eligible if you are a Ukrainian national or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national and were resident in Ukraine prior to the 1st January 2022. The scheme is open to adults and children within family units.
What immigration status, right to work and access to public services and benefits will I get?
You will be granted leave to remain in the UK for 3 years. You will be able to work and access benefits and public services – including healthcare, schooling, and employment support.
How do I apply?
You can apply from outside of the UK under this scheme to seek to come to the UK. Either you or a sponsor completes a single form which collects your details and the details of your sponsor – which is your application. If you hold a valid Ukrainian international passport you will not need to attend a Visa Application Centre. If you do not hold a valid Ukrainian International Passport you will need to book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre. There is no charge to apply.
You can book an appointment online at gov.uk/find-a-visa-application-centre.
The Ukraine Family Scheme
What is the Ukraine Family Scheme?
The Ukraine Family Scheme allows immediate and extended family members of British nationals and people settled in the UK to come to the UK. Those that have no ties to a Ukrainian national but would like to support the cause should register their interest to the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Who is eligible for the Ukraine Family Scheme?
● Ukrainian nations applying must be applying to join or accompany a UK-based family member.
● Must be Ukrainian or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national applying to the scheme.
● Must have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before the 1st January 2022.
Can I apply if I have already entered the UK?
Yes, Ukrainian nationals that have already entered the UK can apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme provided they meet entry requirements. Applications made under the scheme will be prioritised by the Home Office.
What does the Ukraine Family Scheme provide?
Ukrainian nationals applying under the Ukraine Family Scheme will be granted a visa to the UK for three years.
Where can I find out more information to the Ukraine Family Scheme?
More information on the Ukraine Family Scheme and which family members are eligible can be found online at gov.uk/UFS